by Mike Paul
There’s a lot of talk in the education community about using technology to enhance professional development, grow you PLN (personal learning network), and to stay up to date with what your students are using and how you can enhance your teaching.
You will find no bigger proponent of using tech to do all of those things than little ol’ humble me. I’ve always said that technology is the Great Equalizer, especially in the times we live in where anyone with an idea can create incredible meaningful, beautiful, and relevant content that can change people’s minds, inspire their hearts, and in some cases make them a boatload of cash.
I’m in the middle of reading Teach Like a PIRATE: Increase Student Engagement, Boost Your Creativity, and Transform Your Life as an Educator by Dave Burgess right now and I can tell you that my inner spirit is resonating with the words written in this book. If you haven’t read it and you’re a teacher, you just need to buy a copy right now and read it. I’ll be done with it today and I just started reading yesterday.
Then I’ll read it again.
And probably one more time after that.
Do you get the point that I’m trying to make?
In the book, Dave talks a lot about being creative when planning your lessons and that creativity is not some God-given gift that makes some people more creative than others and bestows on them some magical ability to come up with incredible ideas and extremely engaging lessons for their students.
To be creative, you need to create. And you need to create often.
In his book “On Writing,” Stephen King said:
I like to get ten pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words. That’s 180,000 words over a three-month span, a goodish length for a book — something in which the reader can get happily lost, if the tale is done well and stays fresh.
only under dire circumstances do I allow myself to shut down before I get my 2,000 words
Why do I mention this? Because being creative is not about sitting around and waiting for a lightning strike from on high to hit you in the head with the next great idea for your lesson plan.
Being creative is about sitting down and coming up with ideas. Pages and pages of ideas.
Books full of ideas.
Bookshelves full of ideas.
Now, I’m as guilty of not doing this as anyone else, so please understand that I’m preaching to myself as I’m writing this. If we are truly dedicated to being creative teachers and creating the most engaging lessons for our students, then we MUST dedicate ourselves to honing our craft by creating something every day.
That’s the only way we can be truly creative, by creating.
By now you’re probably asking yourself when am I going to tell you why I believe that teachers should blog and that they should blog every day.
I’ll tell you… in just a second.
You get to choose what you want to create. Whether that be a picture, a drawing, a short story, a few random ideas, whatever. You get to choose. No one is going to stand over your shoulder and tell you what you need to be creative about. And sometimes you’re just going to come up with some really crappy ideas that you will look back on and say, “Good grief! What was I trying to do with THAT!”
But you need to do something creative EVERY DAY if you truly want to be creative.
So, why not blog every day? It’s easy to do and in many cases, doesn’t cost you much of anything. Even if you decide to run your own blog on your own hosting account (which I believe you should do, but that’s for another post), the total cost of blogging is less than the price of a meal at McDonald’s for you and your family.
But why blogging? Why not just keeping a notebook of ideas? Why not writing in a journal?
I’m not saying that you can’t do these things. I keep a journal. A regular, plain, analog journal made of paper. There is something about actually writing down ideas on paper that just does something to your spirit that typing words on a keyboard can’t do.
Keep a journal. Go buy yourself a Moleskine and be a cool hipster teacher.
But I still believe you need to blog. Blogging gets your ideas out there for everyone to see. And if you know that someone else could possibly be looking at what you’re doing, the likelihood that you are going to create something wonderful increases pretty dramatically.
And don’t let me hear you whine about not having the time to blog. This post is just about 800 words at this point and it’s taken me just about 30 minutes to get it out on the page. And I didn’t do any other work on this post prior to typing it up. I’m not a big fan of doing prep work for my blog posts. I prefer to just sit down and write what comes to mind, all while trying to stay on topic.
I have trouble with that aspect sometimes, but that’s just my ADHD flaring up.
You should blog. You have ideas that are GREAT. You’re a teacher. Teachers should be the most creative people in the world because we are required to create on a daily basis.
But you only get better at something if you practice it and being creative is no different than playing a musical instrument. Be creative every day and you will change how you write your lesson plans and your kids will be forever changed because of the work you do.
Not sure where to start blogging? Get a free account at Blogger.com or WordPress.com (I recommend WordPress). And if you want to take it a step further, get a hosting account and a domain name and run your own blog. It’s really not that hard and if you need help, just ask me and I can give you some tips.
Now, go create something. The world is waiting for you.